Pentagon Says Russia Conducts ‘Shaping’ Operations

Russia continues to build capabilities in south and east, Pentagon says

Russia is “shaping and setting the conditions for future offensive operations” in southern and eastern Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.

Russian forces continue to provide more combat capabilities in the Donbass, including artillery, helicopters and command and control assets, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at the press conference. daily.

More than 10 battalion tactical groups were also added to reinforce Russian combat units already present in southern and eastern Ukraine as Russian airstrikes and artillery concentrated in Mariupol.

The southern city has yet to fall, Kirby said, despite aerial “pounding” and long-range fires.

Ukrainian forces continue to resist and “bravely” defend Mariupol and secure the cities of Donbass, Kirby said.

Despite heavy losses in recent weeks, Kirby said Russia still has the majority of its assembled combat power.

Kirby said Russia was trying to learn from its mistakes in northern Ukraine. He said Russian forces were still struggling with logistical support and control and command issues.

The appointment of a new general to overall command in Ukraine indicates that Russia is trying to make efforts to improve command and be more effective in its attacks, Kirby added.

As the bombardment continues, the United States believes that Russia “is still grappling with many of these issues.”

The United States will begin training Ukrainian military instructors on 15 American Howitzer artillery systems “in the coming days,” Kirby said.

The training will take place outside Ukraine and will include a small number of Ukrainians who will then train other forces inside the country. Kirby said the training “won’t take very long.”

Kirby also said the United States could not yet confirm that Russian forces hit Western weapons stockpiles near Lviv.

Russia reported that its forces destroyed an arms depot near Lviv that was used for “large shipments” of arms supplied to Ukraine by the United States and Europe.

Kirby said the United States was still reviewing combat damage assessments of targets and hits, but said there was no indication at this time if Western aid was the target or had been damaged or destroyed.

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